I like traveling by Delhi Metro. It’s clean, convenient, cool (air conditioned), fast, reliable, and democratic – totally worthy of being the Chief Minister if it were a human being. And because of its last quality – being democratic – you get to see and witness a lot of characters while traveling. And I’m going to list a few of my “favorites”:
Invariably each time I’ve traveled, I’ve found someone complaining about the first coach being reserved for women. They come up with specious arguments like – if women can get into “our” coaches, why are we disallowed to get into theirs? Hello, you can’t be so confused about basic rules of reservation if you live in India. Reservation doesn’t mean creation of “separate electorates”, but never mind, you never even studied that term in your civics or history textbooks.
While these set of people have problems with women, there are others who are just in love with them. The moment a woman, rather a girl, walks into a “general” coach, they make sure to check out that everything was alright with her, from her head to toe. The other day this guy was talking in accented English on his mobile phone until the girl reached her station. “badhiya maal thi re,” was his next statement, in accented Hindi, to his friend.
Talking of mobile phones, there are people in Metro who think mobile phone screens are public billboards or television screens. If you get an SMS, they think it’s their right to read it too. And pray, if you just smiled after reading the SMS, and then lifted your eyes up, you’d find them looking at you as if waiting for you to share the joke with them. And if you like playing mobile games, rest assured that you’d have a full packed stadium with the crowd appreciating your e-athletic skills. No cheerleaders yet.
But my all-time favorite, in true sense of the word, character has been the kid, who seemed to be in Delhi for the first time. He was repeatedly asking his mother when the “train” will arrive and appeared pretty excited about the journey. Finally, after two minutes of his restless wait, Metro arrived, and the little kid said, “aaah! yeh toh bahut chhoti hai!”